The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #mustread

I’m beyond delighted to join the blog tour for The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech today! Massive thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my gorgeous (and embossed!) copy and to Anne Cater for inviting me to join the tour!

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Author : Louise Beech
Title : The Lion Tamer Who Lost
Pages : 323
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 20, 2018

aboutthebook

Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting where they least expect. Some collisions are by design, but are they for a reason? Ben’s father would disown him for his relationship with Andrew, so they must hide their love. Andrew is determined to make it work, but secrets from his past threaten to ruin everything.

Ben escapes to Zimbabwe to finally fulfil his lifelong ambition. But will he ever return to England? To Andrew? To the truth?

mythoughts

Good grief. I need a minute. Or a lie-down. Or maybe a few stiff drinks to get past this huge lump in my throat.

I don’t really consider myself a particularly emotional person (although I did once cry at a diaper commercial but that’s another story), yet somehow Louise Beech always manages to rip out my heart, stomp all over it and leave me a big, unattractive, blubbering mess.

We first meet Ben in the magnificent surroundings of Zimbabwe, where he’s volunteering at a lion sanctuary. It’s rather obvious from the start that Ben is trying to run away from something or someone but the what or the who is only teasingly revealed  and it took me a while to figure it all out. Back in England, we get to know Andrew. He’s a children’s author with a long outstanding wish. But when his wish comes true, he wishes it hadn’t. I’m not telling you any more than that. You need to just jump into this novel and be completely swept away.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a powerful, tragic and incredibly emotional love story. With realistic and believable characters that almost jump from the pages, I quickly found myself utterly invested in their lives. Their pain was my pain, their tears were my tears, their heartache was my heartache. What an incredible talent Louise Beech has to evoke all these emotions.

This beautifully written tale is not to be raced through or devoured. Every single word on every single page is to be savoured, to be cherished, to be felt deep down into your very core. It’s so hard to explain but it’s just … special. Original, compelling, emotive, exquisite and in case you weren’t able to tell, it left me lost for words but it is a gem of a book I will treasure forever.

This is the fourth book by Louise Beech I’ve read and I can never find the right words (or any words really) to do them any justice. She is the most amazing storyteller and if you’ve not yet read any of her novels, you’re doing yourself an extremely big disservice. Start with this one, work your way back. I promise you will thank me later! In the meantime, I will (im)patiently sit here and await whatever it is Louise Beech comes up with next because I just know it will be special once again.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice.

Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Author links : Twitter | Website

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Perfect Silence by Helen Fields @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour #PerfectSilence

Good morning from a still glorious but slightly cloudy Tuscany! I’m thrilled to join the blog tour for Perfect Silence by Helen Fields today! My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon for the invitation to join and for the review copy.

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Author : Helen Fields
Title : Perfect Silence
Series : DI Luc Callanach #4
Pages : 432
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : August 23, 2018

aboutthebook

When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

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Three words : read this NOW! You can thank me later.

If you’re a crime fiction fan, then the DI Luc Callanach series is undoubtedly one you should be reading. I’ve loved and enjoyed this series from the start and anxiously await a new addition every time because I just know I’ll be in for a treat.

That said though, if you’re of the faint-hearted variety, this may not quite be for you as you’ll need a bit of a strong stomach for this one. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve read any of the previous books.

The body of a young woman is found. Her death seems to have been a particularly gruesome one and the silhouette of a doll is carved into her skin. Detectives are having a hard time finding any clues or leads and then the doll made of skin is found near to where another young woman has gone missing. There’s no doubt there’s a serial killer roaming the streets. They’re playing a horrific game and are obviously on a mission. Can DI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach find the culprit before another young woman goes missing?

Perfect Silence is dark, chilling and disturbing, as I’ve come to expect from this series. Some chapters are written from the victims’ point of view, which were heartbreaking to read and made me choke up. It felt all too easy to imagine what it would be like to find yourself stuck in such a horrendous situation.

As for the serial killer, Helen Fields kept me guessing until the end. I couldn’t at all figure out their identity, their motivations or how they were selecting their victims in the first place. The race to find this murderer is incredibly tense and the ultimate reveal and somehow rather fascinating reasoning behind it all, left me a little open-mouthed.

I feel it’s also worth mentioning that I’ve been Team Luc from the start but I must say, in this instalment it was Ava who stole the show for me. She’s always been a bit of a character I couldn’t quite put my finger on but this time around she completely won me over. I loved seeing a different side to her, sympathised with her, rooted for her and often got the wrong end of the stick, just like she did. But there is so much to admire about her.

This series has been blowing my mind since the very beginning and I feel it’s only been getting better with each book. Intensely gripping and massively engrossing, this is another belter from Helen Fields and I absolutely can’t wait for book five and more from Luc and Ava. You should all add this series to your TBR’s or shopping baskets right now, as it is indeed quite “perfect”.

Perfect Silence is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar.

Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Perfect Remains is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.

Author links : Twitter

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Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia @MejiaWrites @QuercusBooks @ellakroftpatel #blogtour #LeaveNoTrace

Good morning from glorious and scorching hot Tuscany! Today, I’m delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia! My thanks to Ella Patel at Quercus for the invitation to join and for the wonderful review copy!

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Author : Mindy Mejia
Title : Leave No Trace
Pages : 336
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : September 4, 2018

aboutthebook

Ten years ago Josiah Blackthorn and his son trekked into the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and vanished. Now one of them has returned.

Lucas Blackthorn, the boy who came back from the dead, is nineteen, semi-feral and violent. He is now incarcerated in Congdon Psychiatric Institute and the police are desperate to hear his story. All Lucas wants is to return to his home and his father.

Therapist Maya Stark has her own unfinished business with the Boundary Waters, and as she and Lucas grow closer she sees a chance for them to help each other.

She is prepared to risk everything to get answers to the questions that have haunted her for all her adult life. But sometimes finding out the truth is the worst thing you can do …

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I absolutely loved Mindy Mejia’s previous novel, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman, so I was incredibly excited at being given the opportunity to join the blog tour for her latest release, Leave No Trace. I’ll tell you right now though, this is nothing like her previous novel! I love it when an author takes me by surprise.

Ten years ago, Josiah Blackthorn and his son trekked into the wilderness, only to vanish. But now, Josiah’s son Lucas has returned.  Lucas is now nineteen years old and finds himself incarcerated in a psychiatric institute. He doesn’t talk and all he really wants is to return to his father.

Maya Stark is a speech therapist at the psychiatric institute and it’s her job to get Lucas to talk. Is he keeping quiet because he doesn’t know how to talk?  Or is he just being stubborn? Maya is haunted by past events herself. Will meeting Lucas bring her the answers she has so desperately been searching for?

Leave No Trace is very different from Mindy Mejia’s previous novel but as ever, it’s immensely beautifully written. The vivid descriptions of the Boundary Waters in Minnesota really bring the place to life and almost made me want to go out on a hike or grab a canoe. I say almost, because you know, water and creepy-crawlies. But there’s also the peace and tranquility, not another person in sight, just gorgeous Mother Nature all around you. Bliss. Living off the grid obviously isn’t for everyone but Mindy Mejia took inspiration from people who’ve actually done so, for various reasons, and I do so enjoy it when an author makes me want to google things.

Despite it’s relatively slow pace, I was captivated by the exquisite storytelling. There is some fascinating character development to sink your teeth into and even a few twists and surprises. Some I may have figured out but that did nothing to ruin my reading experience, nor did the fact that maybe a few things might have required me to suspend belief just a tad.  Leave No Trace is a compelling mystery and I was swept away by this tale of love, family and loss from start to finish.

I must say, I’m fast becoming a fan of Mindy Mejia’s work and remain impressed with her excellent storytelling skills. I’m incredibly curious to see what she comes up with next.

Leave No Trace is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

My name is Mindy Mejia and I’m a writer. I write because, ever since I was six years old, my favorite game has been pretend. My life doesn’t have symmetry, theme, symbolism, or meditated beauty and I gravitate toward these things like a houseplant to the sun. I love the perfect words; I love how “fierce” and “confounded” and “swagger” look on the page and how my chest expands when I read them. I write because I believe in the reality of my fantasies, the truth in my fabrications. I’ve always had stories sneaking around my head, thrillers like THE DRAGON KEEPER and EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE, and sometimes I inhabit those stories more than my own life. (Best not to mention that last part to my husband, kids, or boss.)

Author links : Twitter

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The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth @charduck @QuercusBooks

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Author : Charlotte Duckworth
Title : The Rival
Pages : 400
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : September 1, 2018 (ebook)

aboutthebook

NOW:
Living in her home in the countryside Helena is a career woman without a job and a mother without a baby. She blames Ashley for destroying her life. But is what happened really Ashley’s fault?

THEN:
When Helena hires Ashley to work with her, she’s startled but impressed by her fierce ambition. They form a dream team and Helena is proud – maybe this is the protégé she’s always wanted to have? But soon Helena realises that nothing will stand in the way of Ashley’s drive to get to the top. And when Helena discovers she is pregnant, she quickly realises how vulnerable her position is, with devastating consequences.

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When I picked up The Rival I was in the most grumpy mood. I’d had little sleep the night before, my day had been turned upside down by interruptions and distractions and I had a headache. All this meant it took me five hours to read a mere 50 pages. Why am I telling you this, you wonder? Because that extremely grumpy mood only became worse the second I was introduced to Ashley and I’m still not entirely sure if my dislike of her was something the author meant to happen or if I was in the wrong state of mind to form a fair opinion of her.

We meet Ashley on her first day at a new job for a make-up company. It’s obvious from the start that she is a fiercely ambitious young woman. She knows what she wants and she’ll do whatever it takes to get it. Nothing wrong with that. But she also comes across as a bit sneaky, devious, selfish and slightly ruthless. Or does she? Her boss, Helena, initially enjoys working with her. But she soon realises Ashley will stop at nothing to succeed. And when Helena falls pregnant, things take a turn for the worse.

It’s no secret that something happens between these two women. Helena blames Ashley for ruining her life, for being a career woman without a job and a mother without a baby. But what exactly happened? Is Ashley truly to blame?

The Rival is told in three parts, from two points of view and switching back between the past and the present. This works incredibly well and I was trying ridiculously hard to pick up clues and unravel the mystery. But I wasn’t at all prepared for the way events ultimately unfolded and it left me reeling, questioning everything, feeling I’d misjudged some things along the way.

This story of female ambition and rivalry is well-paced and although I wouldn’t call it particularly tense, it is full of intrigue and suspense and part three had me flipping the pages faster and faster. It completely made me forget how tired and grumpy I felt and I was determined to finish it before bedtime. Sure, maybe Ashley has the rather typical background to explain why she is the way she is but that didn’t really bother me.

I think this a cracking debut by Charlotte Duckworth and I loved how it combined a psychologic thriller feel with the challenges of pregnancy and motherhood. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and very much look forward to what this author comes up with next.

The Rival is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

The Angel’s Mark by S.W. Perry @swperry_history @CorvusBooks @annecater @RandomThingsTours #blogtour #TheAngelsMark

It’s a real pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for The Angel’s Mark by S.W. Perry today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy.

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Author : S.W. Perry
Title : The Angel’s Mark
Pages : 414
Publisher : Corvus
Publication date : September 6, 2018

aboutthebook

LONDON, 1590. Queen Elizabeth I’s control over her kingdom is wavering. Amidst a tumultuous backdrop of Spanish plotters, Catholic heretics and foreign wars threatening the country’s fragile stability, the body of a small boy is found in the City of London, with strange marks that no one can explain.

When idealistic physician Nicholas Shelby finds another body displaying the same marks only days later, he becomes convinced that a killer is at work, preying on the weak and destitute of London.

Determined to find out who is behind these terrible murders, Nicholas is joined in his investigations by Bianca, a mysterious tavern keeper. As more bodies are discovered, the pair find themselves caught in the middle of a sinister plot. With the killer still at large, and Bianca in terrible danger, Nicholas’s choice seems impossible – to save Bianca, or save himself…

mythoughts

The Angel’s Mark takes us from the dirty and grimy streets of London in the late 1500’s to the opulence of Nonsuch Palace, on a quest to find a serial killer.

A young boy’s body is pulled from the river Thames. With deformed lower limbs, it looks as if he was merely discarded. Nobody seems to know who he is, nor care about what happened to him. Except for physician Nicholas Shelby, an expectant father, who notices a mark on the young boy’s leg during an anatomy lecture. Nicholas is determined to investigate. Until a bereavement casts doubt on everything he thought he knew and he falls into a deep pit of despair.

Then he meets Bianca, a tavern keeper, although she is far more than that. And when more bodies with the same mark on their leg start to show up, Nicholas and Bianca find themselves in the middle of a dark and sinister plot. Can they find the killer before they claim another victim? And will they escape with their lives?

I do love me some historical fiction and this is done particularly well. Set during a rather tumultuous time in the Elizabethan era, The Angel’s Mark oozes atmosphere. S.W. Perry has very clearly done his research and with vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells of the streets of London, I quickly felt myself completely transported.

For us modern readers, it’s not always easy to understand what life was like in those days. Not only is there the relentless hunt for catholic heretics and people hiding their true religion, but there are also a lot of misconceptions. Physicians draw up astrological charts, for instance, to help with a diagnosis. What we know now about the human body, was awfully incomplete at the time, including how blood travels around the body. Despite the fact a woman held an incredibly prestigious position at the university of Padua years earlier, women were not allowed in the field of medicine and any use of even herbal concoctions would quickly earn them the label of witch.

Despite finding the beginning of the novel a bit on the slow side, I found myself utterly captivated. Full of deceit and conspiracies and with no idea who to trust, the author kept me guessing until the end as I couldn’t at all figure out the who or the why. The Angel’s Mark is brilliantly written, cleverly plotted and an absolutely wonderful historical fiction serial killer mystery. This is S.W. Perry’s debut novel and it promises a whole lot of good things in the future.

The Angel’s Mark is out today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife and two spaniels. 

Author links : Twitter

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This Week in Books (September 5)

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This week is getting completely away from me! I’m so ridiculously busy and my reading is taking a massive beating.

Last book I finished reading

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Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.

This way, Liv would be safe.

[Such an absolutely amazing story! Dark and heartbreaking but beautifully written!]


The book I’m currently reading

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When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

[I started this on Monday and I’m still only halfway! Bloody universe messing with my reading time. Anyway, another fabulous addition to the series! Not for the faint-hearted!]


What I’m (possibly) reading next

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You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

[At the rate I’m going, “next” will probably not be until Sunday but still, I am SO looking forward to this one. I can’t wait to see what devilish tale Michael J. Malone has come up with this time!]

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I’m so sorry for not being very social this week. Did I mention I’m insanely busy? I’m still trying to share as many of your blog posts as I possibly can but unfortunately, I don’t have the time to leave comments or to interact with you guys on Twitter. I hope my “liking” your posts and tweets shows you how much I do appreciate everything! Normal service will resume when I’m back from holiday.

What exciting things are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

The Night She Died by Jenny Blackhurst @JennyBlackhurst @headlinepg #TheNightSheDied #NetGalley

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Author : Jenny Blackhurst
Title : The Night She Died
Pages : 304
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : September 6, 2018 (ebook)

aboutthebook

On her own wedding night, beautiful and complicated Evie White leaps off a cliff to her death.

What drove her to commit this terrible act? It’s left to her best friend and her husband to unravel the sinister mystery.

Following a twisted trail of clues leading to Evie’s darkest secrets, they begin to realize they never knew the real Evie at all…

mythoughts

This is one of those stories where I thought I had it all figured out, only to change my mind about a dozen times throughout the book as Jenny Blackhurst deftly creates a sinister tale of love, obsession and deceit.

On the night of her wedding day, Evie White jumps off a cliff to her death. Her new husband, Richard, and best friend, Rebecca, are devastated. But what would prompt Evie to do something so drastic on what is supposed to be the best day of her life?

Through chapters set in the past, we get a glimpse into Evie’s life. A life of the rich and privileged but also one with an absent mother and an overprotective father. Evie has secrets and is adept at portraying the kind of person she’s supposed to be depending on the circumstances she finds herself in. So how well did Richard and Rebecca really know her?

As Rebecca and Richard try to deal with the aftermath of Evie’s death, it becomes quite clear Rebecca isn’t all she seems either. It looks like she may be harbouring secrets of her own, things she might know but isn’t saying. Meanwhile, as more details about that night surface, police officers are wondering if maybe Evie wasn’t pushed. Is Richard a suspect?

I don’t want to say anything else as I’m way too worried I’ll give something away. Suffice to say The Night She Died is an incredibly compelling and addictive psychological thriller that I devoured in one sitting. I found myself sympathising with some characters and eying others suspiciously. With a devilish, twist-y and brilliantly executed plot, this is one heck of a page turner and it comes with a most delicious sting in its tail.

I’d go as far as to say I think this is Jenny Blackhurst’s best one yet and I absolutely can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

The Night She Died is out in ebook format tomorrow!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

The Spy’s Gamble by Howard Kaplan @kaplanhow #blogtour #TheSpysGamble #extract #excerpt #LoveBooksGroupTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Spy’s Gamble by Howard Kaplan! My thanks to Kelly Lacey at Love Books Group Tours for the invitation to join and for providing me with the extract I’ll be sharing with you, right after I tell you what the book is all about.

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Author : Howard Kaplan
Title : The Spy’s Gamble
Series : The Jerusalem Spy Series
Pages : 262
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : June 8, 2018

aboutthebook

When the Israeli Prime Minister boards a new stealth submarine in Norfolk, Virginia intending a celebratory ride and the sub vanishes, it sets in motion a suspenseful story that intertwines the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a story of what could be.

Shai Shaham—an Israeli intelligence officer—contacts old friend and adversary Ramzy Awwad—a former PLO intelligence officer and one of the great writers of his people—for help in locating the missing prime minister. But can they trust each other? Can their friendship withstand the turbulent political landscape?

Eli Bardin—an agent who is feeling the strain of being away from his wife and children for so long in the field—is also tasked to contact Ramzy for the help in finding the missing sub. It seems the Russian have great interest in the technology, and he must locate the prime minister…because losing him is a national calamity that threatens to upset a delicate political balance in the most terrifying ways.

extract

Eli kept the increasing toll of being away so much from his family deeply buried, even from himself. Often of late, the anxiety he had not known since high school and his twenties ran through him like a quiet unease so familiar that at first he hardly noticed it. He was not sure if the current free-floating nervousness was worry about his country’s future, a weariness from fighting a battle that these days seemed to carry his country further from peace, or a desire to do something different with his life.

A religious soul, Eli had stopped believing in God for reasons he refused to discuss. It had opened a small but painful rift with his religious father that Eli wanted to close but did not know how because his abandoning faith was a deeply personal and firm decision. When home, he followed tradition and studied Talmud, the vast compendium of ancient Jewish law, though he was an atheist. His attachment to the Jewish people ran through his every fibre, something gleaned from his father’s life and work, which were uniquely inseparable. Eli disliked alcohol and cigarettes, though it didn’t bother him to partake in either if his cover required it. What he loved was challenging himself, particularly parking in impossibly tight spaces and remembering long passages of a target’s words verbatim. He sensed that he made little impression at parties until he started talking with his quiet erudition and natural warmth. He felt calm and comfortable when busy or with people, where he was often funny, absorbed too from his father. He was bothered that recently the anxiousness had begun creeping in when he was alone with his thoughts. Before heading from New York to Washington, he had their file on CIA agent James Collins emailed to him.

Ten years out from Oberlin College, Collins had imagined himself working in legal aid in public housing keeping with Oberlin’s bona fides. A private liberal arts college, students regularly left Oberlin’s small yet sprawling campus in the Ohio countryside for the Peace Corps and other service. CIA recruiters never made the trek to Oberlin, as they did to Yale, but Collins, who had Ivy SAT scores and state college grades but interviewed better than about everyone, was introduced to Langley by his banker father, a Yale alumnus, after Collins, who was inherently restless, tired of working as a legal aid assistant in New Orleans for $35,000 a year. Collins had a great time, however, playing the guitar at small, dingy French Quarter clubs, where he made sure to enjoy the music and the women equally. Any Oberlin student could take classes in the renown Conservatory at the edge of the entrance grass quad. Students too could rent original Picasso, Chagall, Matisse and other such works for five dollars a semester from their art museum to grace dorm walls, a program begun in 1940, that had yet to have a work irrevocably beer-soaked.

Collins smashed through life creating havoc he was eager to apologize profusely for, and then repeat, and had sidestepped the art rental program, afraid he’d be the one to destroy a painting in one of his fits of rage. Instead, he found it wiser, when a freshman, to avail himself of jazz guitar lessons from a Conservatory female junior, for which they both received elective credit. Collins impatiently waited until three-quarters of the semester were over to sleep with her lest the lessons be impacted by his propensity to bolt post seduction. She was a greater virtuoso in the practice room than the bedroom, so he had been in a hurry to return to scouring the campus performance cafes.

“You got to Washington fast,” Collins said, shifting into playing Elliot Smith’s “Miss Misery.”

“Very, because I was already here. Advance team for our prime minister’s christening ride aboard his new nuclear sub.” Eli knew Israel had five German-built submarines, but this purchase was of a new class of American stealth submersibles.

“Bad timing that two of your crewmen were plowed through.”

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If this wee teaser has left you wanting more, then The Spy’s Gamble is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

HOWARD KAPLAN, a native of Los Angeles, has lived in Israel and traveled extensively through Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

At the age of 21, he was sent on a mission into the Soviet Union to smuggle a dissident’s manuscript on microfilm to London. His first trip was a success. On his second trip, he transferred a manuscript to the Dutch Ambassador inside his Moscow embassy. A week later, he was arrested in Khartiv in the Ukraine and interrogated for two days there and then two days in Moscow, before being expelled from the USSR. The KGB had picked him up for meeting dissidents and did not know about the manuscript transfers.

He holds a BA in Middle East History from UC Berkeley and an MA in Philosophy of Education from UCLA. He is the author of five novels.

DAMASCUS COVER is now a major motion picture starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Sir John Hurt and Olivia Thirlby.

Author links : Twitter

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Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid @RebeccaCNReid @TransworldBooks @BeckyShort1

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Author : Rebecca Reid
Title : Perfect Liars
Pages : 352
Publisher : Transworld
Publication date : September 1, 2018 (ebook)

aboutthebook

Sixteen years ago, best friends Nancy, Georgia and Lila did something unspeakable. Their crime forged an unbreakable bond between them, a bond of silence. But now, one of them wants to talk.

One wrong word and everything could be ruined, their lives, their careers, their relationships. It’s up to Georgia to call a crisis dinner. But things do not go as planned.

Three women walk in to the dinner, but only two will leave.

Murder isn’t so difficult the second time around…

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Perfect Liars is Rebecca Reid’s debut novel centred around the rather odd and extremely toxic friendship between Nancy, Georgia and Lila. It reminded me a little of Liane Moriarty and that’s never a bad thing in my book.

Nancy, Georgia and Lila met at boarding school when they were eleven years old. The three of them are very different. Nancy comes from a privileged background and seems to have it all, Lila is adjusting to a new stepmother and Georgia is at the school on a scholarship. They have the oddest friendship but it’s one that will survive to adulthood due to a certain event that’ll bond them together, whether they like it or not.

Now though, the cracks are starting to show. Lila, in particular, seems to be having a hard time. Her drinking is getting increasingly out of control and her friends are getting worried. As they come together at a dinner party at Georgia’s house, things begin to unravel. How far will they go to protect all they have?

Two timelines then. The present at the dinner party and the past at the boarding school, a setting I always enjoy. There are a lot of lies and secrets to discover and a heck of a lot of pretending going on. I thought the secret the girls were trying to protect was rather obvious but I couldn’t at all figure out who was responsible. None of them came across as particularly likeable. In fact, they didn’t even seem to like one another all that much. They had that “mean girls” vibe to them and I doubt very much their friendship would have survived if the circumstances hadn’t forced them to.

Perfect Liars is a thoroughly enjoyable psychological thriller. It’s brilliantly plotted, compelling and addictive. Despite the pace being somewhat on the slow side, I devoured it in one sitting. It’s clear from the beginning, something bad has happened and the ride to find out the truth is one heck of a thrill.

A fantastic debut by Rebecca Reid and I very much look forward to whatever she comes up with next.

My thanks to Becky Short at Transworld for my review copy!

Perfect Liars is available in ebook format!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

Weekly Wrap-Up (September 2)

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Well, hello September. I can’t quite believe you are here already. Are you sure you didn’t jump the queue and shove a few other months out of the way? No? Okay then. Now, you know I love and hate you in equal measure. Of the good, there is my holiday to look forward to. Of the bad, I’ll be older. Birthdays too seem to be coming faster and faster. Anyway, if you could provide me with some more sunshine and warm temperatures, that’d be brilliant. Also, a shiny new pair of boots, if you don’t mind. And keep that white wine coming! 😉

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been trying to stay away from social media this week as I wanted to get all of my September reads out of the way before I leave on holiday, in the vain hope it’ll give me the opportunity to read for pleasure as I’ve quite forgotten what that feels like 😂. I’ve been reading up a storm this week and feel rather accomplished.

Books I’ve read this week

I’ll take that! I’m also close to finishing Resin by Ane Riel, which I had hoped to add to this list but there was a music festival here yesterday and we sat in our garden, listening to the music until midnight so I wasn’t able to finish it. Anyway, 7 isn’t bad.


Books I’ve bought this week

One last blow-out before I go on holiday. #notsorry 😊


ARC’s received via Netgalley

Not for blog tours, for once. I know, I scared myself there as well. 😉


Bookpost that landed on my doorstep this past week

Happy and extremely lucky blogger 😊

With thanks to Orion and Quercus!


On the blog this past week

Monday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan

Tuesday : Shared my review for The Darkness Around Her by Neil White

Wednesday : Joined the blog tour for The Other Couple by Sarah J. Naughton and posted My Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog blitz for The Third Breath by Malcolm Hollingdrake

Friday : My turn on the blog tour for Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell

Saturday : I joined the blog tour for Daisy Belle with a guest post by Caitlin Davies

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up


Next week on Novel Deelights

Bet you thought I’d take it slow during my last week before my holidays, huh? Ha! 😂

Monday : Review | Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid

Tuesday : Blog tour | Extract | The Spy’s Gamble by Howard Kaplan

Wednesday : Review | The Night She Died by Jenny Blackhurst

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | The Angel’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Friday : Review | The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth

Saturday : Nothing as I’ll be in a car en route to Italy, desperately wanting the journey to be over because good grief, 1400km is just a bit too much to do in one go and my arse will hurt and I’ll be a bit cranky and in need of a shower, decent food and wine. And possibly a nana nap.

Sunday : Also nada as I’ll hopefully be lounging by the pool, reading in the sunshine and getting a bit of a tan. Although the weather forecast says thunderstorms so maybe not 🙄

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And that’s it. Kind of. Because by now I’m sure you all know me well enough and so it won’t come as too big of a surprise to learn that I signed up for two blog tours that fall smack-bang in the middle of my holiday 🙈. They are for Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia on the 11th and Perfect Silence by Helen Fields on the 13th. Come on, be honest, you wouldn’t have passed these up either, would you?

I may post a random review while I’m away but I don’t have a set schedule or anything and if I don’t post, I’ll be totally okay with that. We shall see. I’ve actually still not decided on the books I’m taking with me. So stressful 😂

The Weekly Wrap-Up will return on September 30th. But you will see me back before that as I’ll be on the blog tours for The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech on the 25th and After He Died by Michael J. Malone on the 26th. No rest for the wicked 😉

That’s a wrap! I’m off to do a wee spot of gardening (bloody weeds just keep on coming, don’t they? 🙄) and the afternoon will be spent surrounded by books, trying to figure out what to take with me. Life is good.

Hope you all have the most fantastic week! Until next time! Happy reading! xx